A Minimalist Christmas: 14 Consumable Gift Ideas
Combatting the season of excess can be a difficult task for anyone pursuing minimalism. With gift exchanges around every corner, it’s easy to accumulate a myriad of trinkets and toys by the end of December. Ever since we started minimizing, I have tried to get consumable gifts for others — and suggested the same if asked what I wanted for Christmas or my birthday.
But what exactly is a consumable gift? It means something that can be experienced or used up. Essentially, it’s something that eventually goes away. While this certainly includes food and drink items, it doesn’t just have to be something you can eat, as the word “consumable” might make you believe. Think bath products, plants, or my personal favorite — a candle.
Take a look at my favorite consumable gift ideas if you’re looking for inspiration. You might consider passing this along to friends and family if they’re asking what to get you for Christmas this year.
If you’ve followed me for a while, you are well aware of my obsession with Paddywax. This local candle company based in Nashville makes some of the best fragrances I have ever smelled. And I’ve had the opportunity to smell them all at The Candle Bar, an experiential retail store in Nashville, where you can pour your very own candle (choosing the vessel and fragrance) and BYOB. But no matter where you live, you can buy Paddywax candles online. Some of my favorite scents are Tobacco + Patchouli, Wassail, Bergamot + Mahogany, and Wild Fig + Cedar. But really, you can’t go wrong with any of their scents! Plus, each of their vessels was designed to be repurposed after you’re done burning your candle. Simply freeze your candle, chip out the remaining wax, clean the vessel, and reuse it. Depending on which vessel you choose, you can use it as a container for a succulent, use it to hold cotton balls, or even use it as a container for cream or sugar.
This is another given for this list if you know me at all! Sharing your favorite coffee with a friend is one of the best gifts you can give. If you’re looking for a more substantial gift for the coffee lover in your life, you might consider purchasing a coffee subscription for them. Two of my favorite coffee subscription services are MistoBox and Trade Coffee. I wrote all about MistoBox and the process for signing up here (plus I shared a $10 discount code) and shared my experience with Trade (with a 50% discount code) here. They are both amazing companies with very similar business models. Some of the best roasters I had the opportunity to try include AKA Coffee, Intelligentsia, Cat & Cloud, Huckleberry, Ceremony, and Onyx.
Not everyone loves coffee! Tea is the perfect alternative for the non-caffeinated friends in your life. Because I’m not a tea expert whatsoever, I deferred to Eater’s list of 11 Awesome Independent Tea Producers for this one. They included companies like Ippodo, Song Tea & Ceramics, Red Blossom, Té Company, and more. A well-packaged and well-made tea makes for a beautiful and thoughtful gift.
Wine is another excellent consumable gift option. It’s a chance to share one of your favorite blends or wineries with a friend or family member. Because wine is such a personal experience for each individual, it makes for an extra personal and thoughtful gift. If you’re looking for a good crowd-pleaser, I always recommend Chateau Ste Michelle’s Cabernet Sauvignon — especially during the holiday season. See why I love this particular wine!
Or you could take it to the next level by gifting a wine subscription! While I mooch off my mom’s Netflix and Hulu, I have a few subscriptions I fork out the money for — one of which being the coffee subscription I mentioned! While a wine subscription is far from necessary for everyday living, it certainly makes for a fun, indulgent gift for the wine drinker in your life. Although I haven’t tried it personally, I hear great things about Winc. They make it super easy to gift their subscription by allowing you to personalize the amount you would like to give and add a personalized gift note.
A Plant or Flowers
A plant is one of my favorite consumable gifts. Opt for some potted flowers if you know what the recipient’s favorite flower is, or keep things simple with some greenery. Because I am a plant murderer, I swear by the ZZ Plant, which has proven nearly impossible to kill. This immortal, low-maintenance plant requires low levels of light — and indirect light is best. Much like succulents, it is best to under-water the ZZ Plant and allow the top layer of soil to dry out a little. And of course, a bouquet of fresh flowers is another option — especially if you are not sure which type of plant container the recipient prefers.
A Specialty Food Item
If your hometown is known for a particular specialty food item, consider gifting that! For example, your city might produce some incredible hot sauce, honey, BBQ sauce, a spice, or some other packaged food. This is a great way to give a taste of home to someone living elsewhere.
Unlike many (if not all) of the items on the list, soap is a necessity for everyday living. That’s why it makes for a perfect minimalist gift; it’s something everyone uses on a regular basis — hopefully, at least! Purchase some natural specialty soap that the recipient wouldn’t normally splurge on. We always love when we have fancy soap, especially since my sensitive skin responds best to the natural stuff. One of our favorite brands is Good Soap, which you can find at pretty much every Whole Foods. We also love soap from Little Seed Farm and Thistle Farms, both of which are located in Tennessee.
This one’s a bit tricky, because fragrance is such a personal thing to buy. If you’re purchasing perfume, one of the best ways to combat this is by purchasing a Sample Palette from Skylar, which includes tiny samples of all six of their amazing scents. Then, once your recipient chooses their favorite, they can use a $20 credit towards the purchase of a full-sized bottle. This is a gift giver’s dream come true! But if you’re looking for a specific recommendation, I recently tried their Willow scent and I was so impressed. It’s very earthy, fresh and clean. I reached out to them because their fragrances are completely natural — free from parabens and toxic chemicals — hypoallergenic, and cruelty-free. I was curious about it because of my sensitive skin!
My dad has given me bath bombs for several birthdays because he knows how much I love taking baths. It is the perfect cozy gift idea for the avid bath-taker in your life. These bath bombs are completely natural and made with essential oils, including peppermint, sweet orange, lemon, rose, lavender, and citronella.
As cliché as it may seem, lotion is another great option. You could even pair it with soap and bath bombs to create a complete spa-like gift set! My hands have a tendency to get super dry — especially while we lived in Colorado. So this is another staple I so appreciate getting as a gift!
Basically everyone loves chocolate. It’s such an easy addition to any gift if you’re wanting to add a little more substance. One of my favorite sources for fancy chocolate is Whole Foods; they usually carry the best high-quality chocolates, including Theo, which happens to be based in Seattle.
Encourage mixology and creativity by gifting a cocktail mix. Some of my favorite cocktail mix companies are Strongwater, which is based in Denver (where we used to live) and Withco, which is based in Nashville (where we live now).
Strongwater sells bitters, syrups, and a variety of cocktail kits — the perfect way to provide variety with a gift. Several months ago, I was given the Herbal Cocktail Bitters Sample Box from my bosses, which allows me to sample several different flavors.
Withco sells batched cocktail mixes made with only fresh, flavorful ingredients. I’ve tried Withco’s Hey Girl, made with fresh lime juice, cucumber, mint, water and pure cane sugar. All that’s missing is your alcohol of choice, such as tequila, gin, vodka, rum, or pisco!
My brother and sister-in-law gave a free Blue Apron meal to us for our wedding and it was one of our favorite wedding gifts! If you haven’t heard of Blue Apron, it’s a meal delivery service — or maybe I should say an ingredient delivery service. Each box comes with delicious, chef-designed recipes and quality ingredients that have been perfectly proportioned. Choose from various gift card amounts, including $60, $120 and $240 — which covers a one-week, two-week, or four-week delivery, respectively. This is on my list of “consumable” gifts, but it could definitely qualify as an “experiential” gift (coming soon!), as it allows the recipient to have an experience of following the recipe instructions and creating their very own at-home masterpiece.
A Gift Card for Favorite Coffee Shop, Restaurant, Brewery, etc.
Save a little money on shipping by opting for a gift card to a local coffee shop, restaurant, brewery, winery, or cocktail bar. This kills three birds with one stone; you are second-hand purchasing a consumable gift, prompting the recipient to enjoy an experience, all while supporting a small business. Also, you can often do this from a distance, as many businesses offer online gift card purchases.
What consumable gift(s) would you add?
Let us know in the comments below!
Stay tuned for the next edition of A Minimalist Christmas, highlighting experiential gift ideas! I’ll share some experiences you can gift — such as a cooking class, wine tasting, or a concert.